Donald Trump again defended his coronavirus record during the latest White House briefing with a Wall Street Journal op-ed and a video of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a staunch critic, as props that praised him.
Mr Trump, who has denounced most media criticism of his coronavirus management, claimed on Sunday that “no country is close” to achieving the same successes as the US.
With an edition of The Wall Street Journal in hand, the president cited the article’s headline and declared that his administration had “rewritten the rule book on emergencies”.
Admitting that it was a “very nice feeling” to be praised in the opinion piece, the president read “just one paragraph” out loud to the room of White House reporters and said: “at least of what I read, it was a great article”.
“He’s given pride of place to federalism and private enterprise, lauded the patriotism and proficiency of our fantastic governors and mayors”, read Mr Trump, adding: “I do call them fantastic when its appropriate.”
On Sunday, Mr Trump was keen to screen evidence of Mr Cuomo’s praise and complained that the “good part” of the governor’s comment had not been shown.
“What the federal government did, working with states … was a phenomenal accomplishment,” said the governor in the first video. “These were just extraordinary efforts and acts of mobilisation, and the federal government stepped up and was a great partner, and I’m the first to say it. We needed help and they were there.”
New York’s Mr Cuomo had enraged the president on Friday after saying that “he should get up and go to work” instead of watching TV, whilst deriding the “zero, zilch, nada in unrestricted aid” seen by states.
On Twitter, Mr Trump took aim at the Democrat and wrote: “Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!”
With the US coronavirus death toll passing 40,000 on Sunday, one CNN reporter questioned why the president had devoted so much time during the briefing to self-congratulation.
Mr Trump retorted: “You’re CNN, you’re fake news … You don’t have the brains you were born with.”
Saying that he was standing up for everyone that has “done such an incredible job’, the president then compared himself to Abraham Lincoln and bemoaned “Abraham Lincoln had very bad treatment too”.